UK: Psychologist cleared of obtaining sexual favours from patient

UK: A psychologist who was alleged to have obtained sexual favours from a prisoner in return for cash has been cleared and allowed to return to work, the Health Professions Council (HPC) ruled today.

The HPC’s Conduct and Competence Committee found the facts of the case “were not well founded” and Phillip Dodgson, from Brighton, can continue to practise.

The panel concluded Mr Dodgson did not make inappropriate comments of a sexual nature to the convict, referred to as Prisoner X, during an assessment in June 2004.

It also concluded there was no evidence that Mr Dodgson asked the prisoner to contact him on his release.

During a hearing yesterday, Mr Dodgson was accused of staying in touch with the man by text message and phone calls and making “sexual contact” with the prisoner during a woodland walk in exchange for money.

The hearing was told that details of the allegations were discovered in a brown envelope in the psychologist’s personnel file by the Sussex Partnership NHS Trust in October 2009 as Mr Dodgson was preparing to retire.

He was then suspended.

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The envelope was said to have contained notes from a disciplinary hearing process held by his employer at the time, South Downs NHS Trust, in 2005 in which he was allegedly found guilty of the offences.

They decided no further action was needed, it was said.

The panel concluded today that “it was improbable” that the chief executive of the South Downs NHS Trust would have allowed Mr Dodgson to remain working in a senior position and achieve promotion if the investigation had concluded he had initiated contact with the prisoner on his release and procured sexual favours in return for money.

Yesterday Paul Spencer, Mr Dodgson’s counsel, said although it was true the pair had met and had sex, there was no evidence that his client paid the prisoner and no evidence that he instigated the meetings.

Mr Dodgson was excused from attending the hearing as he is undergoing radiotherapy treatment for cancer.

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